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TR's power supply comparo

Power to the people

THE MAJORITY OF attention in PC enthusiast media is dedicated to graphics cards, processors, chipsets, and motherboards. Honestly, I don't blame them, or us, for spending more time on the industry's more interesting and—dare I say—sexy developments than on some of the more mundane happenings and products. However, a product doesn't have to be sexy to be incredibly important.

Power supplies are generally not thought of as the most interesting PC components, but they can often be the most vital, especially for system stability when you're pushing your hardware to its limits. You see, the power supply is responsible for keeping all of your PC's flashy goodies fed with ample quantities of steady, clean power. Without a good power supply, your high-end system could be reduced to a mess of crashes and instability.

Over the years, I've seen numerous systems whose laundry list of problems were all remedied by swapping out an underpowered or low-quality generic power supply. Even the latest problems with ATI's Radeon 9700 Pro have been attributed, by some, to poor quality and low-wattage power supplies in users' systems. As our systems get more and more powerful, we're going to need more and more clean, quality power to keep them running. Today we've rounded up four very different power supplies from Antec, Thermaltake, and Vantec. Which is easiest on your wallet and ears, and which is able to provide the most consistent power under load? Let's get started and find out.

Cause chicks dig a dude with power supplies
...well, at least the kinda chick that'd go out with me